The ‘movements’ of the 1970s and 80s


(from a recent letter)

… I counted about 54 different types of alternative therapies being advertised in journals and magazines. I cannot deny, though , the idealist core in that movement (what is ‘holism’?, I asked myself). As it happened in all areas, people were looking for answers to a  general insatisfaction and confusion. Well, I stop here.

 Except that, much as I found myself in agreement with the criticisms of the social order of the time (still imperant): ‘humanism’, ‘democracy’, progress’, ‘technology’ or ‘technocracy’, etc., I did not see where any practical, workable solutions in view of it’s excesses and distortions (rather than outright lies) could be found – and that lack of possible answers included the writings of Ivan Illich, which, though inspiring and having much truth in them, I saw as exaggerated and rather utopian (are they not?). There were other projects and attempts, like that of R.D. Laing and the anti-psychiatry ‘movement’ in both North America and Europe. The most inspiring writing I found at that time was that of Victor Frankle – profound and spiritual (‘Logotherapy’ is the one I then read). You should check on him  if you did not know about him and his writings.

Interesting that I became almost obssessed, something like you, with triads or trinities of all sorts (as you say, “It seems to be written in to the very DNA of creation”): heaven-earth-intermediate zone of Chinese cosmology, triloka, trikaya, and trilaksana of Buddhism, and many others (I was also reading Buddhist texts). Though I took a course on Kant and Hegel (among others) at the University, I never got to see the metaphysical significance of the latter’s triad concerning the fundamental ‘concept’, begrif (begrief?): ‘in-itself’-‘for-itself’- ‘in-and-for-itself’. Difficult to fathom the Christian trinity, concerning which Schuon described in different ways: macrocosmic (the Son), microcosmic (Holy Spirit), metacosmic (God as such); Mary corresponding also to the ‘pneumatic’ microcosm. Then the  ‘vertical’ axis (Beyond-Being-Being-Existence, and the ‘horizontal’ trinity (sat-chit-ananda). For a long time I was occupied in trying to find out ‘the third element’ that must always exist, implicitly, in evey duality, dichotomy or dyad – ‘not two but three’: subject-object-union, lover-beloved-love, etc, with which you are quite conversant. The dyad is ‘unstable’, hanging loose, as it were, and needs something else to stabilize it. ‘Three’ (or that third element) is, or results in, going back to unity. The Chinese saying, “one generated two, two generated  three, and three generated the ten thousand things”, made all the sense… 

I liked very much what you said about Union-unity, union being preparatory, and also that “That very understanding is union. Nothing else is required to be done with the knowledge”. I had never seen it that way… but there again we see a triad involved in understanding: subject-object-union! I think Francis Lucille said that once you understand something it dissolves in Consciousness. He also said that “real knowledge of  anything occurs beyond the mind, in awareness – awareness is understanding”.

About amartingarcia

General surgeon (retired). Studied Western philosophy at U of Toronto. Afterwards interest turned to advaita vedanta and non-duality for past 20 yrs, plus a long interlude in Sufism coinciding with that period. Now contributing in ’Advaita Vision’ with regular posts and discussions.
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